The Funky Cheese David Lebovitz Uses For Richer Potato Gratin

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When David Lebovitz has advice, our ears perk up. Not only does he have an excellent technique for making jam without a recipe, but he recommends the perfect pastry shop for those with allergies and introduces us to his favorite French dessert. These tidbits are really just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Lebovitz is one of the most renowned food bloggers maybe ever. According to Serious Eats, he was recognized as one of the top five pastry chefs in the Bay Area, won Saveur magazine's Blog of the Decade award, and was a finalist for an International Association of Culinary Professionals Literary Award for his 2009 cookbook "The Sweet Life in Paris." Whew!

Despite his plethora of famous accolades, Lebovitz credits his cookbook successes to the people in his life who hounded him for his delicious creations. "People were always asking me, 'Can I get the recipe for the macaroons? Can I get the recipe for the ginger cake?' It's all of these great recipes that I cultivated for 30 years distilled into that book," he told Eater. His blog is further evidence of his desire to lend food expertise to home chefs. "The website was intended as a place to share recipes and stories," Lebovitz wrote. One such recipe, potato gratin, is luckily available for us all to enjoy, but you may be surprised to see one key ingredient included.

A controversial but flavorful cheese

No one is trying to be healthy when digging into the rich, cheesy goodness that is potato gratin. Typically, this dish involves heaps of cream, cheese, potatoes (of course), garlic, and milk, layered in a pan and baked in the oven until it turns gooey in the middle and crispy on top. We're unbuttoning our pants just thinking about it. But in case you were wondering how to make this dish even more indulgent, Lebovitz recommends an ingredient that will up the ante.

In his Gratin de Pommes recipe, which he details in his cookbook "My Paris Kitchen," Lebovitz uses 1 1/2 cups of crumbled blue cheese, which he says adds a punch of flavor to contrast the milder potatoes and cream. Lebovitz notes that it's best to keep the blue cheese chunks pretty large, so the other ingredients don't swallow their flavor. If you're a bit hesitant to add this controversial cheese to your beloved comfort food, you're not alone — blue cheese has always been polarizing, and in 2019, it was one of the most hated foods in the U.K., according to Cheese Professor. But if Lebovitz recommends it, it's worth a shot. As he explains in his recipe, blue cheese "elevates a common tuber into a dish you want to snuggle up to, spooning up the long-cooked potatoes with pockets of oozing cheese between them." And who can say no to that?